The devil is not a nice guy. Not. At. All.
And I’ll tell the truth about something that some people might not like: The devil has a least 2 things in common with God. The first: he wants our souls for all of eternity. Like stated in Luke 22:31; “…behold, Satan demanded to have you.”
The second: we must never underestimate him because we’ll continually learn new things about him (but with the devil, we’ll just learn new depths of his evil, not his love). 1 John 3:8 says that “the devil has been sinnging from the beginning.” I’m sure he’s picked up more tricks than we can imagine. Revelations 12:9 refers to him as “the deciever of the whole world.” He’s probably a really good liar by now.
I’ve had my fair share of experiences being lied to by the dark side, as I know we all have. He is a cunning enemy, unlike any other, and with each new experience, I get to know my enemies tactics a little better (and knowing your enemy is half the battle).
A few months ago, a friend of a friend was (and I guess technically still is) going through a situation with a few parallels to a previous one of mine – I don’t want to repeat the whole story, so see https://samfindsfaith.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/hit-it-again/ to fill any gaps.
So a few months ago, I’m sitting at my kitchen table doing this bible study, and I read this statement and BOOM. I saw this friend in a similar situation to the one I was in, laying in his bed, in tears, hearing thoughts in the second person telling him he wasn’t worthy after a long time of being isolated from his friends and family. The statement I read? “Satan doesn’t announce he’s here. He comes in whispers.” My understanding is that, no, Satan doesn’t come in with jazz hands like hey guys! I’m here! He sneaks in over time…months…years…however long he needs.
Driving today, after some reading in the Bible and a few random conversations, this sort-of vision came back to me and I realized something about the devil that only took my understanding of his trickiness to a new level. Satan isolated my mind to only one person’s opinion so that I didn’t even hear the voice of God. So even though I wasn’t following the devil, I wasn’t defining myself by God either (which is pretty much just as bad – Matthew 12:30). I had no one else to keep me accountable because of the lies that this person was somehow better than any other, and I got myself into a big idolotrous mess.
And once the devil had that built up nice and high….he ripped it down. Pulled the rug out right from underneath me.
And once I was on my back again, he swept in and started to tell me who I was according to him – not God. Not any person. Who I was according to Satan.
And I’ll tell you who we are to Satan: nothing. We’re nobodies. We’re pawns in spiritual warfare. We’re like notches on a bedpost. We only mean something to him because we mean something to God and the bone he’s trying to pick is with the Lord.
It might not be a person, he might use something else to isolate your attention; mine was a boyfriend, but sometimes its sin, he can try and convince you it’s more important than God or brings you more than God would. Sometimes its money, or worldly-status, or whatever… he’ll get you to idolize something. He’ll isolate you from people trying to speak truth and influence you well and surround you with people who only fuel the idolotry and support your misconduct. He’ll pull you away from the Word so you can better justify your actions.
And then he’ll bring it to the ground. He’ll rip it all to shreds so that nothing is left – and then he’ll come in and that’s when he’ll start yelling. That’s when he’ll let you know he’s there. I really believe a lot of depression and anxiety/panic attacks are from this fall out.
But honestly, the best thing I’ve ever learned about the devil, and definitely the most important thing I think we need to understand about the devil is this: he doesn’t actually have any power over us. He just lies to us to make us think he does.
Luke 10:19 makes it clear that we have God-given power and “authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” And even though 1 John 3:8 says that Satan has sinned from the beginning, it also says, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” With the cross, with Jesus defeating death, he defeated Satan and all of his scheming. If we just submit ourselves to Christ in all that we do, Satan flees from us (James 4:7).
Awesome thought though – Deuteronomy 28:7 says that he won’t just flee one way, he flees seven ways. He cant get away fast enough, he’s that scared of the God in our corner!
The realization that satan was after me was a really scary one. But realizing that God is for me (Romans 8:28) just fills me with joy and confidence. I hope it does for you as well. Satan is scary but God is bigger than him. The best way to know our enemy, the half the battle I told you about, is to get to know what God says about him in his Word.
Please be knowledgeable of your enemy, but be encouraged by your God.